Mano’s Story (Sequel to Little Squirrels Can Climb Tall Trees) by Michael Murphy

Dreamspinner Presents:

mano storyBlurb

Sequel to Little Squirrels Can Climb Tall Trees

Mano and Jake, friends since childhood, are each the brother that the other never had, hermanos. It doesn’t matter that Mano is gay and Jake is straight. They have each other’s backs. When he grows weary of being used as a pawn by his parents as their marriage collapses, Mano moves in with Jake’s family.

Jake and Mano both need a chance to start over, so they move to Hawaii and work for Jake’s uncle, Mano working as a lifeguard. In his free time, Mano explores his sexuality and finds he has no shortage of men in his bed. But after watching his parents’ relationship disintegrate, Mano guards his heart and keeps it strictly sexual.

Determined to become self-sufficient, Mano returns to college while still working full-time. When he meets the man of his dreams, he’s too scared and unsure of himself to pursue him. For years he went out of his way to avoid getting close to a man, so now when he wants to, he doesn’t know how. With the encouragement of Jake and others, Mano searches for the courage to go after what he’s always really wanted.


We met Mano in Little Squirrels Can Climb Tall Trees and I was psyched he got his own book. He was so funny and interesting in that book that I was sure this would be a really light hearted, sensual, fun story. It has those elements but that’s not all there is to the book. It’s not a typical m/m romance in a lot of ways.

We don’t meet Mano’s love interest until 57% of the way into the story. The first entire half is Mano learning about his sexuality and getting a new “lease on life” after leaving his Washington DC life behind.

After spending the first half of the book being worried about never finding love, pretty much as soon as he meets Jordan they are a couple and moving things to permanency. The rest of the book is wrapping up their relationship issues and Mano finishing school.

So, this truly is Mano’s story, far more than his and Jordan’s. There is a fair amount of Mano’s and Jordan’s story, to be sure, but it doesn’t happen til later and while we wait Mano is NOT celibate.

For some, having on-page sex with someone other than the MC can be disconcerting, though these interactions shaped Mano into who he is today.

I didn’t think this story was as tightly written as the first book and seemed to take more tangents. Mano’s character was not what I was expecting and I had some preconceived notions to set aside, but even allowing for that, I didn’t connect with him as much as I had Kyle and Joseph from book one. I did enjoy that we get to see a fair amount of Kyle and Joseph though – they are still so cute together!

Overall, I was a bit disappointed with this book because I had high expectations for it. Overall it wasn’t a bad book – don’t get me wrong – it just wasn’t what I was expecting and didn’t resonate with me as much as book one.

3 of 5 hearts